The first time I heard it was from someone I don’t know well: she said she had seen me on the street, walking with confidence. I thought, hmm, okay, women and in that case single woman might be sensitive to that. But I didn’t make much of it.
Then a few others commented on the same thing, that I seem confident. I thought okay, so I must be, and why? I analyzed and came up with….
I’ve succeeded – unusually well – at the most important task I’ve been given: that is, to perfect my health in the face of a major illness, an illness which has its seductive element (mania) and has its exhausting element with the individual swinging between the extremes and often committing suicide from the fatigue of that swing.
So I beat it!
And yes, I do feel differently, more confident, than I did a few years ago when I was in some way hiding something. Related to all of this is the larger theme of self-acceptance, which my weekly therapist has helped me with for a couple of decades now.
As for the medical management of BP – I had a great p-doc as the blogs call them (psychiatric doctor) and a weekly therapist and enough money and time to access multiple modes of treatment. But the writer, producer, and director of the movie that is called my success with BP is all me. That’s a HUGE accomplishment. I’m generally happy, calm, and prosperous – and this in a BP world where that is definitely not the norm.
What changed for me in the last year was going from treating this as a secret – a secret illness that I managed as well as I could while giving people as little of a hint as possible as to the illness and its treatments – to “flipping” and making my management of BP something to celebrate and be proud of. Related to that is being more honest about it. Why not? From the moment I accepted it, there was no longer a point in hiding it.
So now I look around my life and there is not much that scares me, which I believe is why I appear confident.